Memory is a fundamental element of human life yet it remains one of the greatest mysteries of modern biological research. Memory loss through neurological disease, such as Alzheimer's, or head trauma, has a devastating impact on the quality of life. Understanding the molecular process of memory would therefore provide potential avenues for mnemonic therapy. The long- term goal of this proposal is to understand how memories are formed, consolidated and retrieved at the molecular, cellular and neural network level. We use the fruit fly Drosophila as our model system because it can learn, it has a relatively simple brain and it is amenable to a sophisticated genetic approach. We will use the most up-to-date technology available with a new appetitive long-term memory assay to investigate how conserved signaling molecules function within the context of defined neural circuits to encode memory. We expect that these studies will have a major impact on strategies for human mnemonic therapy.
Memory is a critical element of human existence. Consequently, memory loss through neurological disease, such as Alzheimer's, or head trauma, severely impacts quality of life. Our work will provide a fundamental understanding of the cellular, molecular and neural circuit processes of memory providing potential avenues for mnemonic therapy in humans.
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